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NEW DELHI: Cotton Association of India (CAI) has sought the withdrawal of the 11% import duty imposed on cotton last year, saying that the textile industry is working at half its installed capacity. This comes amid a sharp decline in demand for Indian textile products in the West.

“The government imposed an 11% import duty on cotton from 2 February 2021. This has drastically eroded the competitiveness of our value-added products in the international markets and our textile industry, which is the second largest employment provider in the country, is now constrained to work with only 50% of its installed capacity," said Atul S. Ganatra, president, CAI.

Expressing concern over availability of extra-long staple (ELS) cotton in the country, the association said that every year India requires around 20 lakh bales of extra-long staple cotton but produces around 5 lakh bales. He added that cotton farmers should be given higher minimum support prices to boost production of ELS cotton.

Cotton productivity in India is among the lowest in the world, the association rued, adding that as against the global average of 744 kg per hectare, India's has an yield of 468 kg per hectare.

“This is below the cotton productivity of some of the smaller countries like Bangladesh, Syria, Sudan, etc," Ganatra said.

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